top of page
  • Denise Frakes

"Don't let go of the thread!"

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

in 2014 I traveled to Iona Scotland. This was my one and only adventure over far. Out of my comfort zone...a YES!!!! Gretchen founder of Harmony Hill's emailed me and said she wanted to invite me to something and would get back with me. I remember having an internal conversation that went something like this..."whatever she invites you to..say Yes." To be fair I was thinking tea. What she invited me to was a women's pilgrimage to Iona Scotland. Well..ok the...yes?

I don't really know why, I said yes. Except I had made one those soul decisions. Traveling to Scotland was out of my comfort zone. I'm a bit of a home body, loving simplicity over grand. Plus there were a million reasons I shouldn't go...there always is. (life clutter you know)

And so I went. It was on this tiny island I was introduced to poetry. Most nights we would gather in this remote island, in a tiny attic, one mile walking distance from where the fairy dropped us off. We would reflect, read beautiful words and discuss.

On our last night, Gretchen and Leslie (she was one of our fearless poetry leaders), read "The Way It Is" they gave us a string. Looking into our eyes with fierceness said " Don't ever let go of the thread! We promised. At the time, I thought it was about our group and our trip. It was only this spring, exactly 7 years later, I re-read the poem. I got it on a cellular level. Sometimes life needs to compost a bit before the light goes on.

Deep compost makes the richest gold soil for planting.

Here is the poem...

The Way It Is

There is a thread you follow

It goes among things that change.

But it doesn't change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can't get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die;

and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you can do can stop time's unfolding.

You don't ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford

Since it took me 7 years to "get" this poem, I'm not going to tell you what it should mean to you. That's not how poetry works. You discover your own meaning as you go... Just like life.

I will leave you with this..."You don't ever let go of the thread." whatever your "thread is"

What is your thread?


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page